Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Number One Post of 2011

First and foremost, I want to thank you all for hanging out with me here, reading and commenting on the Wife Life!  It means so much to me.  I never would have imagined having over 150 followers and 100,000 page views in just a year.  I look forward to adding more facets to the blog and growing it over the year ahead.  I really hope to create conversations and a sense of community as we learn from one another.

So here it is.  Drum roll please...  The number one Wife Life post from 2011 is...

Bye-Bye Blackheads {a re-post}

While at a friend's house, we had an evening of beauty recipe making.  One that we were both interested in was the Bye-Bye Blackheads Scrub from EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox.  The best part was that the few ingredients required were all common household ingredients.  It is nice and simple to make anytime.

Bye-Bye Blackheads Scrub

1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp water


Add baking soda

and sugar.

Add water and mix.

To use, massage mixture onto wet skin.  Allow to sit for a few minutes.  Rinse with warm water, and pat face dry.

The texture of this scrub was nice, much smoother than many are.  My face felt more soft and smooth than prior to the scrub, and I found it did help with the few blackheads I had on my chin.  My only issue was that after rinsing, my face was red and felt tender.  I think this is probably due to my sensitive skin, but I was still surprised since the scrub only contains a few simple ingredients.  Also, my friend found that her skin was dry afterward, though she is prone to dry skin.  This is something I would do again when necessary, but not often.


There have been a few discussions and recommendations in the comments sections for how to use this scrub on the original if you are interested in knowing more.

And so I leave you for this year with a question.

What would you like to see on The Wife Life in the upcoming year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Even though it's a day late, I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas.  I hope it was a joyful day for you and your families.

For the last two posts of the year I am going to count down the top five Wife Life posts of 2011.  Here are the first four:

5. Shampoo-yah!  
"My next hygiene necessity of which I am running low is shampoo.  The recipe I chose is from a different book, 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.  What won me over was that it is supposed to bring out highlights in dark hair..."
4. Lavender Love Lotion Bars  
"I have purchased a few "massage bars" from Lush before, so when I saw this recipe for homemade lotion bars on Crunchy Betty, I was excited to try it out..."
3. A Lesson in Fat Cells  
"The No More Cottage Cheese Thighs! recipe in my EcoBeauty book by Lauren Cox is one that caught my attention right off the bat.  Before we go into how to make it though, I think it's important to have an understanding of what cellulite actually is..."
2. Hair-Raising Results  
"My hair is horribly dry and damaged.  I have been growing my hair out for what feels like an eternity, but it seems to just not be healthy when it is longer.  Recently I've had real problems with it tangling up in actual knots, and I hate the way it feels.  When a friend and I came across the Hot Oil Treatment in EcoBeauty by Lauren Cox, we thought that just might be the solution..."
You'll have to wait until Thursday to see number one!  Enjoy your holidays!

How are you celebrating?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eco-Christmas: Holiday Getaways

Whether it's visiting family or going on a vacation, the holidays are a great time to get away and have time off from work and school.  Travelling in general has a high green cost, but some ways of travel are greener than others.

- This is the best way to go on a holiday (aside from bicycles or on foot of course).  The carbon footprint is less than a third of driving.  Some places though (like Canada for me) trains are uncommon and difficult to coordinate.

- Driving alone is never a good option, but if you're ridesharing, carpooling, or driving with family, it helps.  I have previously written about getting the best gas mileage you can out of your car in the Green Wheels post which you can check out for some great tips not only for the holidays but all year around.  Better fuel efficiency will improve the eco-friendliness of the trip.

Planes - The emissions from airplanes are up to 90% greater than those of trains for the same distance traveled.  Yikes.  Another interesting fact about air travel is that because the emissions are released so high in the atmosphere, they actually do twice the damage.  This is not the ideal way to travel green.

Cruises - Though this is not something individuals usually participate in frequently, there are millions all together who do each and every year.  I have no doubt that a cruise would be a beautiful, relaxing experience, but for myself, the consequences are not worth it.  Where do you think the food waste, grey water (from laundry, dishwashing, bathwater), sewage (passengers going to the bathroom), and fuel end up?  In the sea.  I don't think this needs much more explanation.

Lodgings - Once you've arrived to your destination, you'll need somewhere to stay.  Check into different hotels' green rankings.  Websites like Expedia are beginning to rate hotels based on a general criteria for environmental friendliness with regard to energy use, water consumption, cleaning products, etc.  If there are options to use the same towels or not change the sheets each day, take advantage of those.

What method of transportation do you use?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eco-Christmas: Par-tays!

The holidays are a party season.  Woohoo!  Now what decisions can make an impact on global climate change with regard to entertaining?


We all go into cleaning frenzies before hosting a party.  Be extra good to your guests by using nontoxic cleaning supplies.  I have written about a homemade air freshener recipe, and there will be many more natural cleaning posts coming in the new year.  One unbelievably simple cleaner is just 1 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of water.  This solution cleans and kills bacteria.  Also, I love using Norwex products.  If you haven't heard of this company, please check them out!  Their purpose is to be environmentally friendly, chemical-free, and incredibly effective at cleaning.

Food and Drink
A full 25% of energy used in America goes toward food.  "Each food item in a typical American meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles to reach your plate," according to Green Christmas.  Buying food that is in season and locally grown will cut down on transportation needs for your food.  Serve organic wines, locally brewed beer, organic juices, or natural sodas for drinks.  Fill a pitcher with water that's been run through a filter instead of handing out bottled water. (P.S. - "Americans send about 38 billion water bottles a year to landfills. Considering the 1.5 million barrels of oil needed to make those bottles, the environmental impact of plastic bottle waste is truly staggering," from Green Blog)

Plastic cutlery, styrofoam cups, paper plates all get used once and are then thrown into the garbage.  This is a huge contributing factor to waste piling up in the landfills.    Not to mention the oil, energy, and transportation required to make all those disposables.  Using real plates, silverware, drinking glasses, and cloth napkins will make a real difference.  Trade a few soapy minutes to avoid needless waste.

Oh, and always encourage people to carpool/rideshare/use public transportation to get to and from your place.

How do you green up your holiday parties?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eco-Christmas: Green Decorating

On Monday I just touched on Christmas trees, so now we are going to delve into the other aspects of decorating for the holidays.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the full post. Thanks!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Eco-Christmas: The Tree

Decorating is one of the most fun parts of getting ready for the holidays in my opinion.  The way things look different at this time if year is part of the magic of Christmas.  Of course, the focus in Christmas decorating is often the tree.

Real or fake is the age old question.  Here are some comparisons from the National Christmas Tree Association.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the full post. Thanks!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rake Repurpose: Necklace Hanger

Wow, Thursday really snuck up on me this week.  As such, I had not yet written my next blog for the Eco Christmas series.  This will be an interim post on a simple repurposing project Brad and I did.

We were given an old bow rake for when we tried to plant some grass seed in our little patch of yard last spring.  I believe it only took one use before the head came off the old wooden handle.  It sat around outside for a very long time, but I thought it looked cool so I just couldn't get rid of it yet.

Then I noticed metal bow rake heads popping up on Pinterest with jewelry, scarves, wine glasses, keys, and the like hanging from them.  Since I had given away my much-too-fancy-for-my-taste stand up jewelry box, I thought this could be the perfect solution to my new necklace carrying needs.

And it is!  I thought about cleaning the rake head first, but I decided I liked the worn, rustic look.  All I had to do was have Brad stick a nail in the wall and hang it up.  As you can see, I don't have a lot of jewelry (oh, and the pocket watch is not mine), and I like the simplicity of it, as well as the ease with which I can find the piece I am looking for.

What unlikely items have you repurposed?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eco-Christmas Series: Green Giving

Christmas spending and giving has been around since the Three Wise Men visited Jesus and present their gifts of frankincense, myrrh, and gold.  Gift giving and generosity are wonderful, but I think it is important to be mindful especially at this time of year when we have a tendency to get carried away.  Think about your personal values and work towards having those coincide with purchases.  Here are some options to consider.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the full post. Thanks!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Eco-Christmas Series: The Environment

Last year for Christmas Brad gave me the book Green Christmas: How to Have a Joyous, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season by Jennifer Basye and Peter Sander with Anne Basye.  It is a short, simple, straight-forward read that covers all the different aspects of the holiday season.  This will be the basis for my upcoming Eco-Christmas series I am going to do leading up to the big day at the end of December.

The first area of discussion is a big one: the environment.  There are three categories of the causes of major environmental unfriendliness.  These include waste, emissions, and energy.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the full post. Thanks!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cloth Toilet "Paper"

In preparation for this post about cloth toilet "paper", I thought I'd read up a little bit on mainstream toilet paper for comparison.  I discovered some very unsettling facts from The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia.  In fact, I was shocked.

On average, consumers use 8.6 sheets per trip – a total of 57 sheets per day. That’s an annual total of 20,805 sheets!

According to Charmin customers, the number of days a standard roll of bath tissue usually lasts in the most-used bathrooms in the house is five.

I have now been using cloth toilet paper I made at home for months (though only for number one incidents).  I have yet to find a downside.  Making them was quick and simple.  I used baby wash cloths, so they are nice and soft.  Washing them is not a big deal.  Most importantly, I am happy knowing I am helping the environment.

Baby wash cloths cut into quarters.

Zip zag stitch across the 2 open edges.

Store in the bathroom.

Here is a more  uplifting statistic I found to end on:

Tossing all the toilet paper in America would save 15 million trees, 17.3 terawatts of electricity, and more than 473 billion gallons of water annually.

I have to say it's worth it.  After looking into it more as well, I found that some families are choosing to put bidets in their homes to eliminate the need for toilet paper all together.  I think I'd be a little uncertain trying one of those for the first time, but they all sounded really pleased with their decision.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Lemon Meringue Moisturizer

The other night we had two of our closest friends over for an evening.  The boys played video games while the girls made beauty products in the kitchen.  With winter approaching, dry skin is always an issue.  We found a recipe in Lauren Cox's EcoBeauty book for a hand cream and altered it to make our very own moisturizer.

Lemon Meringue Moisturizer

1/4 c water
1/8 tsp borax powder
5-10 drops lemon essential oil
1/2 c grapeseed oil
2 tbsp grated beeswax

1. Bring water to a boil in kettle and immediately pour over the borax in a bowl. Stir until dissolved.  Add lemon essential oil.  (This can of course be substituted for any essential oil, but then it won't be lemon meringue.) Set aside.
2. Place oil and beeswax in the top pot of a double boiler (a makeshift double boiler can be made by placing a small pot into a larger pot that is filled partway with water) over medium-high heat, and mix together until completely melted.
3. Pour the oil mixture into a blender and turn the blender on.  Add the hot water mixture in a slow, steady stream.  Blend on a high speed until well combined.  The mixture will become the consistency of a cream.

Finished product.

 The whole process was so exciting.  I couldn't believe that we really made such a completely different product from the ingredients that we started with.  I asked my husband, Brad the chemist, why this happened.  After looking into the chemical make up of the ingredients, he explained that we produced an actual chemical reaction.  Real science!

I love how thick and fluffy the cream is.  It is very moisturizing without feeling oily or greasy.  It soaks into skin quickly.  I like to use it as a hand cream, though it would work wonderfully on any dry skin areas.

If you're interested in or curious about why a person would want to make their own beauty products or be cautious about mainstream brands, I encourage you to watch this short video: The Story of Cosmetics

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sustainable Tees on a Mission

I had the great pleasure of winning a giveaway from Tees for Change, and my prize arrived in the mail this past weekend!  I had only just discovered them when I entered the giveaway.  Now that I have had the opportunity to try their products and learn more about their mission, I love them!

Tees for Change is build on the idea that "what you wear can make a difference. [Their] line of stylish, earth friendly tees lets you look good, feel good and do good!"  The shirts, which display positive messages, are made from a fabric blend of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton.  Bamboo is incredibly sustainable, and the organic cotton is grown and harvest in a responsible way.  The shirts are also produced under fair trade and sweatshop-free conditions.  To top it all off, they plant a tree for every shirt purchased! 

My winnings: 2 shirts and a tote

The very first thing I noticed even just from pulling the shirts out of the package was how soft they were.  When I tried them on, they were easily the most comfortable shirts I had ever put on.  They are lightweight, breath well, and slightly form fitting.  These will definitely become "go-to" shirts for me.  Plus, I love the positive reminders every time I see myself in the mirror.

Tees for Change has many different styles of shirts, tote bags, jewelry, journals, and fun books as well.  You may think this is lame, but Brad and I are actually buying the The Couple's Love Quiz Book for a Christmas present to each other.  I encourage you to check out their site, store, blog, and support such a fantastic organization!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No Impact Man

I mentioned the discovery of a book, blog, and then documentary of "No Impact Man."  We immediately requested the documentary at the library, and finally had the pleasure of watching it.  No Impact Man documentary follows the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they leave behind their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live an entire year without making any environmental impact.  Colin is determined to give up everything from new items to taxis to take out to electricity whilst making no garbage to top it off.  He and his family begin to bicycle, scooter, and walk.  They eat only local foods.  They light their apartment by candlelight.  They learn a lot.

The movie was really inspiring for me.  I was impressed with how hard they worked and all the new things they were willing to try to take the experience as far as possible.  The film was also incredibly real, showing the hurtful reactions they received from others, the "cheats" they sometimes did, and of course the good times together as a family as well.  His wife really had no inclinations towards environmental friendliness beforehand, so it was really a stretch for her most of the time, and thus it was encouraging to see just a regular person make such great strides as well.  Plus it was so funny and entertaining.

The media gave them a lot of flack and were calling it The Year Without Toilet Paper to make it a joke, and my favourite line is Colin's response: "What if we called it the year I lost 20 pounds without going to the gym once, or the year we didn't watch TV and we became much better parents as a result, or the year we ate locally and seasonally and it ended up reversing my wife's pre-diabetic condition."  There are so many benefits to this change of lifestyle.  Even small steps in the right direction make big differences.

Here is the trailer.  I highly recommend watching the film!  Free at your local library.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Making

As part of the Healthy Homemaking series I had done a post on meal planning.  To be completely honest, we have not kept up with it.   One way we thought we could make it more concrete was to make a menu to display in the kitchen.  After seeing ideas on Pinterest, this is what we made.  It's so quick and simple, plus we didn't have to buy a single thing.

What you need:
-picture frame with glass
-paint (optional)
-dry erase pen

1. Cut paper to required dimensions to fit inside frame.
2. Print title and days of the week onto paper either through a computer printer or by hand.
3. Paint frame if desired.
4. Put paper in frame.
5. Write on glass with a dry erase marker.

While going through and getting rid of most of our possessions, we found a few unused picture frames, so this was as great opportunity to repurpose one.  The paper is leftover from when I used to make cards and scrapbook.  The frame was originally black, which I didn't think suited our style or house, so Brad painted it brown with acrylic paint.

We still work hard to meal plan each week, but having the menu sitting in the kitchen staring at me makes me think about it and helps me remember to do it.

Do you meal plan?  What strategies to do you use?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"Zoodles" - Zucchini Noodles

While perusing Pinterest I came across this amazing creation: zucchini noodles!  I have now renamed them "zoodles."  Zucchini is my favourite vegetable, and throughout the summer we were eating about one a day.  I always like finding new ways to prepare it.  This was something I had never seen before.  I am sure there plenty of different ways to cook them, and some people I've seen even leave them raw.  This is how we made ours.

Zucchini Noodles

1. Thinly slice zucchini into noodle-like strips.  If you have one, using a mandolin, peeler, or spiralizer might make work faster, but we just used a knife.
2. In a frying pan, lightly sautee with extra virgin olive oil and garlic.
3. Top with pasta sauce of choice.  Ours is a homemade tomato based sauce with chick peas.  Other vegetables, beans, or meat could easily be added.

Bon appetite!

It was so tasty!  We actually sliced up 2 big zucchinis right afterwards and froze them so that we will be able to make this even quicker for future meals.  The zucchini works wonderfully as a pasta substitute which adds more vegetables and eliminates some carbs from the meal (though I know carbs aren't all bad).  It is also a great option for those with gluten intolerance.  We will be eating plenty more of this in the future.

What unconventional vegetable dishes have you tried?

Monday, November 7, 2011


I read an article in Natural Solutions magazine that really made me think.  It asked the question, is clutter affecting your health?  I had never really considered this even as a possibility before.  Here is what I learned.

In this article, clutter was defined as anything that gets between you and the life you'd like to be living.  It claims that it is impossible to be your best and healthiest self in a cluttered space.  We lose our ability to focus on what we're doing in the midst of a mess.   This loss of mindfulness can lead into an unhappy cycle.  A PhD at Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living says that clutter can make us depressed and being depressed can make us cluttered.  "Depression contributes to clutter by causes fatigue, giving one less energy and motivation, and impairing ability to focus," and then "having a lot of clutter leads people to feel ashamed and socially anxious."  There are even speculations that clutter can lead to overeating and weight gain.

How can we combat this?  Decluttering!  This is the process that Brad and I went through.
-throw away obvious garbage and put recycling in the recycling bin
-do what is visible first - countertops, desks, etc
-empty out a drawer/cupboard working on one at a time
-consider each of the objects - do I need/use/love it, how would life be without it
-pack up unwanted items to donate

Brad and I have eliminated multiple boxes and garbage bags in the last couple of months, and we're not done yet.  We essentially got rid of everything we didn't use or love.  In fact, we even got rid of some things we sort of love because they really have no place in our life right now.  I think it is important to figure out what we want from our lives, not what we want for our lives.  Deep down inside myself I know that authenticity, serenity, and joy are more desirable than a new wardrobe, the latest iPad, or a new car.  We are trying to break the cycle of consumerism that society so heavily pushes.  Buying less stuff is also so much better for the environment.  I don't consider it denying myself or losing out on anything.  It is about freedom, space, and time.  While browsing Pinterest, I pine over simple, open rooms like this:

Minimizing and decluttering are ongoing processes that require constant maintenance.  This is the hardest part for me.  It is encouraging though that little changes really can make a big difference.  You can start anytime, anywhere, with anything.  Every little bit helps.

What are your strategies for decluttering or maintaining?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Scent of Home - Air Freshener

Way back when I talk about my homemade laundry detergent, I promised 2 other homemade cleaning product recipes.  Today I am going to share with you a homemade air freshener from Keeper of the Home that I use.

First though, why would someone want to make their own air freshener?  Apparently having "fresh" air is a major first world problem, since 75% of Americans have some sort of air freshener in their home. Unfortunately all types of air fresheners (sprays, wicks, electric, etc) have a long ingredient list filled with toxic chemicals.  Just one example I found is trichlorofluoromethane.  With the help of my chemist husband, I was able to look into the safety of this chemical.  It has been assigned the exclamation point "danger" symbol because of its severe toxicity and damage to the ozone layer and environment in general.  Another harmful ingredient is called 1, 4-dichlorobenzene which has already been proven in studies to reduce lung function.  That is not exactly what I think of when I hear air freshener.

So, what can we do about it?  Make our own natural air fresheners!  Here is how.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the deodorizing bathroom spray recipe. Thanks!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lavender Love Lotion Bars

I have purchased a few "massage bars" from Lush before, so when I learned how easy it is to make homemade lotion bars, I was excited to try it out.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits for the Lavender Love Lotion Bars recipe. Thanks!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Excuse Me, You Have Food on Your Face - Honey Face Wash

On another blog I follow, Crunchy Betty, she organized a challenge for her readers to wash their face with just honey and water at least once a day for 2 weeks. I had been having decent results with my tea tree bar soap, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to take it another step in the all natural direction.  Brad and I purchase raw honey at the farmer's market already, and we began to use that to wash our face in the mornings.

The benefits of using honey as a facial cleanser are...
-it is antibacterial and antimicrobial
-slightly drying to soak up oiliness
-incredibly moisturizing at the same time
-contains enzymes which are thought to have anti-aging properties
-it is great for any skin type - acne, aging, normal, dry, etc
-healing properties help repair blemishes and scars

I washed my face with honey daily for about 2 months.  The first few times, it seemed funny spreading this sticky stuff all over my face, but I really enjoyed the way it felt.  It even works when your honey gets a little harder.  I imagined it was adding an exfoliating aspect.  I found that the honey was really effective in reducing and healing any blemishes I had already.  The problem for me was that new ones were still popping up each day.  At the same time each month I broke out worse than I have in years, and that is when I realized that my acne must be partially hormonal.  The honey didn't seem to be strong enough to fight against those exceptionally bad break out times, and I have since stopping using it.

I would still encourage others to at least try it out.  What works for some, doesn't always work for others.  Which is shown in our situation even because Brad still continues to wash his face with honey daily.  It has been great for him.  For more information, you can check out Crunchy Betty's post about it here - Crunchy Betty's Honey Challenge.

What do you use to wash your face?  Do you have any tips for treating hormonal acne?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yoga - Stretched and Unstressed

Over the last few years as yoga gained in popularity in the West, I have resisted.  I have awful balance, I'm not the typical body type of those I see practicing yoga or wearing yoga gear, and  I feel some unexplained moral aversion to Lululemon.  This September I found a free yoga class that practices twice a week about 10 minutes away from my house.  I didn't think I could pass up the opportunity to at least try it.  Now I have fallen in love with yoga.

The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj", which means "to yoke" the spirit and physical body together.  From what I can tell, the yoga I am practicing is hatha yoga which traditionally is a holistic path that includes disciplines, physical postures, purification procedures, breathing, and meditation.  Yoga is really a way of life.  Our yoga instructor always talks about how there is a personal practice which takes place on the mat, then there is our interactions with those around us, and then the effects we have in the world on a global scale.

The many benefits of yoga can improve different aspects of life.  Physical benefits include improved overall health, flexibility, stamina, improved balance, increased strength, pain prevention, better breathing, improved digestion, and increased blood circulation.  Mental benefits include stress relief, mental calmness, body awareness, and increased self acceptance.  The list could go on and on.  Plus, yoga is for everyone be it men or women or from young children to the elderly.

This has been the first form of exercise I have ever actually looked forward to going to.  It has certainly made a difference in our lives.  I have begun feeling physical changes regarding strength and flexibility.  Brad has had amazing success with pain prevention for a shoulder injury the medical doctor wasn't able to do anything for.  What I really crave though before practicing yoga is the mental calmness.  I find that there are so few instances in our busy lives where we carve out time to be calm and introspective.

I think that Donna Farhi describes it beautifully in her book Yoga Mind, Body, and Spirit here:
But the slowness of this path is part of the healing.  It is part of finding one's place in the rhythm of life again.  This reunification with nature lies at the heart of the true healing power of yoga practice.  Through that practice we can become peaceful, we can experience ease with ourselves and others, and ultimately we can create a society that values such things.  Then as we advance in our yoga practice, we will realize that however far we go, we are always in the process of returning to this natural self.
Have you had any experience with yoga?  What form of exercise do you enjoy?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Congratulations!

We have voyaged all the way through Stephanie Langford's Healthy Homemaking.  I know that many positive changes towards a more natural, nutritious, and sustainable lifestyle have been made in my life.  I hope that some have taken place for you as well.  Thank you so much for joining me on this journey.

If you're interested in having the book yourself to work through or for reference and more resources, you can purchase it from her blog's website, Keeper of the Home, there are digital copies or paperbacks to choose from.

Now where shall we go from here?  I would love to hear from YOU!

What are you particularly interested in reading more about?

PS - If you are looking for something to do, here is a simple, quick quiz you can take to size up your environmental impact -  Measure Your Eco-Footprint.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Dairy Choices

Baby Step 26 - Evaluate Dairy Choices (last one!)

I have to begin this post with a bit of a disclaimer.  The views expressed in this post are Stephanie Langford's and do not necessarily reflect my opinions.  I have only just begun looking into dairy products with regard to health and environmental impact, and my husband and I are currently discussing whether dairy will continue to be a part of our diet.  Now, on with the post.

Challenge: Consider what changes you could make for the better in regard to dairy.

Why: As with any animal products, the diet and health of the animal directly effects the quality of the food product.  Healthy cows make nutritious dairy products, while sickly/ill treated/drugged cows make unwholesome, even harmful, dairy products.

How: This is the criteria given for choosing dairy...
-grass-fed cows and organic dairy is best
-raw is preferred if you can get access to it, otherwise pasteurized but unhomogenized
-stick with full fat as saturated fats from healthy animals are actually good for you
-consume lots of cultured dairy - yogurt, kefir, sour cream, buttermilk, etc
-eat butter that is from grass fed cows and organic is ideal

To keep it affordable, Stephanie makes her own yogurt and kefir.  They eat butter which follows the above criteria.  She purchases large blocks of raw, natural cheese from a food co-op for a decent price.  Her family is also part of a cow share which they receive raw milk from.

Brad and I purchase D'Dutchmen Dairy milk.  It is located a few hours away from our city (but we can buy it at our local health food store), and they offer old-fashioned, handmade dairy products with a focus on top quality ingredients.  This is what currently fits into our budget as it is only 10 cents more per litre than regular milk at the grocery store.  We would love to find somewhere we could get raw milk (illegally, eek) or just organic for a better price.  Right now we also buy mainstream cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. because it is already pricey to begin with.  A goal we have is to learn to make these things at home in the near future.

Where do you get your dairy?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Natural Remedies - The Neti Pot

Baby Step 25 - Treating What Ails Ya - Naturally! (only one left!)

Challenge: Seek a replacement for one conventional medicine with a more natural option.

Why: While pharmaceuticals can occasionally have their rightful place, in general we rely on them far too heavily.  This creates an unnatural and unnecessary dependence on them and are losing our abilities to heal naturally.  Most conventional medicines are full of preservatives, dyes, sugar, and harmful (often synthetic) chemicals which can cause dependence and damage our immune systems and even our internal organs.

Most cold symptoms are a good response to illness.  They are not really "symptoms" of the illness, they are defensive actions our bodies take to heal itself or let us know something isn't right.  An example of this is the heat of a fever which kills bacteria and serves as a warning to us that something is wrong.  Eczema is often just an allergy, lack of nutrients, or hormone imbalance.  Headaches are most often caused simply by dehydration. Other than extreme cases perhaps, these problems don't require drugs.

How: I love natural remedies.  It is always so amazing to me how effective they are.  I have talked about a few in prior posts.  One that I can't believe I hadn't talked about yet is my neti pot!  I got a head cold recently, and thus I thought it would be a good choice to talk about today.

Looks pretty weird, eh?

I began using a neti pot after being told by my doctor that I would have to take prescription Nasonex everyday for the rest of my life.  Nasonex is a steriod, and thus I was not comfortable with this.  It can cause or even hide infections and impair the ability of wounds in the nose to heal.  Other side effects included headaches, nosebleeds, inflammation of the throat, nasal irritation, nasal burning, nasal ulcerations, and smell and taste disturbances.  Uh, wasn't this medication supposed to be helping my nose?  Didn't sound like it to me.

Originating in ancient India, the neti pot is used to flush out the nasal cavities with a warm salt water solution. When I first started I used it daily, but after my body was able to heal itself, I only use it when I am sick now. To treat a nasal problem, I use it once in the morning and again at night.  The first couple of times ever using one it can feel slightly uncomfortable, but I've got it down now and it takes no time.  During this last sickness, I was also adding eucalyptus essential oil to my diffuser at night to help clear up nasal congestion.  I felt better in a couple days, and that is coming from someone who used to use up an entire value pack size box of extra strength Sudafed or Sinutab every time I got a cold or sinus infection.

There are lots of good resources for finding natural remedies on the internet, but my tried and true resource is my book 1001 Natural Remedies by Laurel Vukovic.  I would encourage anyone interested in more natural living to check it out.  It has sections on health, beauty, home, and even pets.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Better Baking

Baby Step 24 - A Better Method for Baking

Challenge: Try a new recipe that incorporates the soaking (2 step) method for quick bread, muffins, etc.

The importance of soaking grains was mentioned briefly in the oats post.  Grains are full of vitamins and minerals and have the potential to be very healthy.  They also contain antinutrients though which can cause serious health problems.  An example of this is phytic acid which when untreated (unsoaked) will block the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc into the body.  And that is only one example.

How:  This is the basic premise, though it can be adapted for different recipes.
-flour and grains are soaked overnight in liquid that is acidic (buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, whey, lemon juice)
-mix the flour and liquid well
-put a damp dishtowel over mixture and leave it
-add the rest of ingredients according to recipe and bake
-baking will take longer than usual

Before even starting I was quite frustrated by this challenge.  All the different recipes I looked through seemed pretty complicated and used a lot of ingredients I don't keep in the house regularly.  Once I actually just did it through, I thought it was so cool!

To begin, using a recipe already adapted for soaking is a good idea.  This is the one we tried:
Blender Batter Pancakes by Sue Gregg

1 c yogurt thinned with water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c uncooked oats
1/2 c uncooked brown rice (we used black rice)
1 egg
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine first 5 ingredients in blender and blend on highest setting for 3-5 minutes.  Leave at room temperature covered for 12-24 hours.
Right before baking, add egg, and blend for 1-3 minutes.
Sift in remaining 3 ingredients and blend briefly until mixed.
Bake as usual in frying pan/on griddle.

Ours are a funny colour because of the black rice but still tasty!

We loved them!  This will be the only pancake recipe I use from now on, that is how much I love these.  I think it is so cool that they don't have any flour in them, just using the ground up oats and rice instead.  From what I can tell, they're very nutritious too.  You could add all sorts of different grains or seeds as well.  For all the putting off and frustration beforehand, it was very worth it.  I am so glad I learned about this method and this recipe.  (Oh, and it made way more pancakes than that.  The picture is only about half way through.)

Do you do any baking with the soaking method?

PS - I recently discovered No Impact Man, and now I want to read his book. I then just this second discovered that there is a documentary about it all too!  I've got to see it.  Here's the trailer:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Vegetarian Deliberation

As I've expressed a couple of times in past posts, Brad and I recently became vegetarians (it's actually been about 4 months now, wow).  It is a very personal decision, and for us it really ties into our natural, healthy, eco-friendly quest in life.  Thus I thought it would be a good topic for discussion here.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits to read the post 3 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian. Thanks!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Saying Goodbye to the Microwave

I have not been on the ball enough this week to get to my next baby step in the Healthy Homemaking series.  With starting a new job, it's been a little crazy.  Luckily I do still have something to talk about, so here it goes.

In the purging of most of our possessions, Brad and I decided to ditch our microwave.  The first reason was to be more minimalist.  Why do we need another appliance to do a job that we can do without it?  Then I began to come across posts on blogs and other websites of others who had given up their microwaves for health reasons such as Red and Honey - Bidding Farewell to the Microwave Oven (the most recent blog I have discovered and fallen in love with), Keeper of the Home - Life Without a Microwave (a woman who's opinion I hold in high regard), and Naturally Knocked Up - Are Microwaves Dangerous to Your Health? (who's post is a little more informative).

I am not going to try and convince you whether or not microwaves are safe.  There has been much controversy and discussion over the years.  I encourage you to read about it and make a decision for yourself.  A website article I read can be found at Global Healing Center - The Proven Dangers of Microwave Ovens which was in my opinion informative and research and facts based.

I don't know if this is proven, but I found it amusing.

Instead I am going to tell you how we live without it.  Here is what we used a microwave for and our new alternatives.
Cooking vegetables --> Steam them in a pot or fry them in a frying pan on the stove
Reheating left overs --> In a pot on the stove or in the toaster oven (we LOVE our toaster oven)
Melting food items (chocolate, butter) --> In a pot/makeshift double boiler on the stove or in the toaster oven
Defrosting --> Bring it out a day or two ahead or use a sink of water
Clock --> Clock on the wall
Timer --> Cellphone timer

Having grown up with a microwave and probably using it daily, I was surprised how easy it was to give up.  I don't miss it one bit.  And I love all the extra counter space!  We have a grand total of 5 feet of counter top (I measured), and the microwave used to take up 2 feet of it.

Do you have a microwave oven?

PS - If you will do me the courtesy of allowing myself some selfishness, I have a favour to ask of all of you. 
Brad and I entered a photo contest with RW&Co to win a shopping spree.  I found out today that we are in the top 12 finalists.  Voting begins tomorrow, so if you are a RW&Co.nnection member (or don't mind becoming one for a good cause) on their website, please vote for us starting tomorrow (October 7-16th)!  As some of you know, my husband is currently going to school for his Bachelor of Education.  Winning this shopping spree would really help us out to build him a professional wardrobe for upcoming practicums and his future career.  Thanks!

This is the photo... (he's wearing a RW&Co vest)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Better Meat

Baby Step 23 - Finding Better Meat Sources (Only 3 steps left!)

Challenge: Research a source of better quality meat, and commit to replacing one item regularly purchased.

Why: Today's meat and poultry sources are of inferior quality to those even just a few decades ago.  They have higher percentages of fat because they don't get exercise, they're often sick because of crowded living conditions and then treated with antibiotics, and they are eating foods they were never intended to which causes toxins to build up in their body and be passed on to those who eat them.

Grass Fed Beef

How: Brad and I recently became vegetarians, and thus this step did not apply to us.  In a post soon after this series finishes, I will be explaining our reasons for becoming vegetarian.  For this post, however, I will be passing along Stephanie's information for you to consider.

Be informed about what you are purchasing.  Carefully read labels.  Ask questions to farmers or meat shop employees.  This is the basic criteria to look for:
Beef - primarily grass fed, free range, no cottonseed meal or soy protein, no hormones, steroids, or antibiotics
Poultry - free access to pasture, not confined (free range), able to eat insects,worms, etc, no hormones or antibiotics

The easiest way to locate better sources of meat is to ask around.  Talk to people at local health food stores, at farmer's markets, nutritionists, naturopaths, farmers, or others you know who are trying to eat better.

Wild game is an excellent option as well including deer, buffalo, moose, duck, geese, pheasant.

Free Range Chicken

Where do you purchase your meat?

PS - I see I have some new followers, so I wanted to let you all know that there is The Wife Life page on Facebook as well, if you search for it.  I update when I post new blogs as well as use it to share interesting articles, videos, or photos I find online that relate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Freecycle is Your Friend

Baby Step 22 - Freecycle is Your Friend

Challenge: Check out your local chapter of Freecycle, and sign yourself up!

Why: In my opinion, free is good.  I think this is a fantastic way to preserve the lifespan of any object.  Be it by passing it on to others instead of throwing it away or getting something second hand instead of brand new.

"The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,981 groups with 8,736,603 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and thus keeping good stuff out of landfills."

How: Head over to Freecycle, find the chapter nearest you, and sign yourself up.  You can post things that you want to give away or things that you hope to find, all for free.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Diapers Go Green

Baby Step 21 - Deck Your Baby Out in Cloth

Challenge:  Consider making the leap to cloth diapers.

Why: There are 3 main considerations regarding disposable versus cloth diapers: cost, environmental stewardship, and health.

Cost - While start up costs of purchasing the cloth diapers seem staggering, the cost spread out over a child's diapering years make up for it over and over again.  The cost of disposable diapering (including wipes, etc.) is on average about $50 a month or $600 a year.  To purchase cloth diapers and covers all the way from newborn to toddler age (at least 2 years worth) does not even cost $600.  Plus, you can use those diapers again on future children.  Also, from what I have read, there is no significant increase in costs for extra hot water, detergent, etc. for cloth diapering.

Environmental Stewardship
- Here is a statistic that was quoted in the book:
"[A]ssuming that approximately 18 billion diapers are sold each year, and that over 90 percent of these end up at landfills, this translates into more than 4,275,000 tons of disposable diapers trucked to landfills each year.  Add the remaining 10 percent that end up in resource recovery plants for a total of 4,500,000 tons of single-use diapers thrown away this year." 
This is from an American source, but I am sure the story is the similar here in Canada as well.  I cannot see any way in which this is responsible stewardship of the earth, and it is leaving behind a bleak legacy for our children and their future generations.

Health - In recent studies, it has been discovered that emissions from the chemicals used in disposable diapers can cause respiratory distress and asthsma-like symptoms.  Dioxin (a known carcinogen) is a byproduct of the materials in disposable diapers.  The absorbent chemicals used can cause allergic reactions, skin irritations and infections, and are linked to toxic shock syndrome.  Also, some dyes used have been linked to damage of the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver.  Yikes!

There are so many different options and cute styles out there nowadays.

How: Similarly to the cloth pads consideration, I had always been against cloth diapers based on the gross out factor.  After reading this section of Stephanie Langford's book however, I had begun to feel that that was not a good enough reason to ignore all of the harm disposable diapers are doing.  Not too long after, there was this fantastic series posted on her blog, Keeper of the Home, called Dispelling the Myths: Why Cloth Diapering is Truly Easier Than it Seems (if you have any interest in or curiousity about this topic, I really encourage you to check out these blog posts as she is so upfront and informative, and the comments from other real life moms really show the truth).  The blog series won me over once and for all.  If/When Brad and I are blessed with children, they will be rocking out with their cloth out.  (We are also very interested in elimination communication so hopefully we won't need many diapers anyways, but that is a whole nother topic.)

What are your thoughts on cloth diapers?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Pop and Juice Addict

Baby Step 20 - Kick the Pop or Juice Habit (Only 6 steps left!)

Challenge: Make a plan to get your family off of regularly drinking pop, powdered beverages, and juice.

Why: Pop is full of sugar, caffeine, artificial colours and flavours, and preservatives.  Powdered beverages are similar because they are completely artificial, there is no real juice in them.  Juice on the other hand can be good for you, but it depends on the type and the quantity that you drink.  The problem with juice is that it contains all the natural sugars of the fruit with none of the fibre to slow the body's consumption of the sugar.  One glass of apple juice would have even more (natural) sugar than just one apple, but without being slowed down by the fibre, it will act similarly to white sugar in the body and blood sugar levels will spike.

How: The easiest way to remove anything from your diet is gradually.  Cut intake until you can begin to live without out, and just stop buying it after that.  This can be difficult.  Sugary drinks are more addictive than we think.

Brad and I got rid of any juice and pop or powdered drinks (ice tea and hot chocolate mix) when we did the Lighten Up Your Pantry challenge.  We found that we needed to get rid of it cold turkey because if it was in the house at all, we would drink it all the time.  We do buy juice to have at home on very rare occasions, and Brad will have the odd Coke if we are out to dinner at a restaurant, but overall it has been a huge improvement.  Now we are at the point where we don't miss it or think about it at home.  Along with rice milk, and herbal tea, the beverage of choice at our house is now water, water, water.  As for the hot chocolate mix, my sister blessed us with a homemade batch of hot chocolate mix.  Here it is.

So tasty!
-skim milk powder

Mix 1 1/2 tbsp of hot cocoa mix into 1 cup hot water.  Stir.

What do you drink at home?

PS - I have been noticing that my comments have really been dropping.  I hope I don't sound needy and desperate, but this really makes me wonder if anyone is reading or enjoying my blog as of late.  I spend time publishing content that I like in hopes that you'll like it too, and receiving a comment is the hugest encouragement.  Of course, you don't have to comment on every silly post but you connected with something, have a question, or more information, I would love to hear it!

So, I want to ask you, the readers, if you're out there, what can I do to encourage more comments?  I realize that answering this question will require leaving a comment, but I would so greatly appreciate any and all feedback.  Thanks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Produce

Baby Step 19 - Improve Produce Quality

Challenge: Make a plan for purchasing better quality produce and select 1-3 items to buy either organic or naturally grown (unsprayed).

Why: Today's fruits and vegetables are highly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizer and even genetically modified and exposed to radiation. 

How:  This is how Brad and I work towards eating the highest quality food possible all while on a budget (about $6 a day).

Grocery Stores With Options - For us that would be Natures Fare Markets and even Superstore as they have the most reasonably priced organic and natural choices for grocery stores.

Local Produce Markets - The BC Fruit Packers Cooperative carries fruit and vegetables grown in our province with organic options as well at the best price I have found yet.

Farmer's Markets
-April to October are my favourite months for grocery shopping because of the farmer's market. I love the freshness, organic options, and knowing that I am supporting local farmers.  The food there is so delicious!

Gardening - As I've mentioned before, Brad and I have a garden with 2 other couples where we grow nearly every vegetable you can think of.  I really think this has saved us a lot of money.

Latest haul from the garden.

General Tips - We also pick and choose what is most important to buy organic.  For example, apples are the most heavily sprayed and thus it is a priority to buy organic.  On the other hand, onions are the least sprayed and thus we don't worry about it being organic or unsprayed.  Also, when something comes on sale, if we can, we will stock up and freeze it at home.

For the list of the "Dirty Dozen" (most sprayed) and the "Clean Fifteen" (least pesticide use) check out the EWG's guide here.

Where do you shop for produce?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Plastics

Baby Step 18 - Dangerous Plastics

Examine cupboards for items made of dangerous plastics and begin a plan to replace them.

Some plastics contain chemicals that leech into our foods when in contact (pthalates, BPA, dioxins).  Also, the process of making these plastics uses, creates, and disposes of harmful chemicals as well putting them into our environment.  The effects of these specific chemicals on our bodies have been clinically shown to be detrimental.

I've moved to a new website! Head on over to Heartful Habits to read What You Need to Know About the 7 Types of Plastic. Thanks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: For Women Only

Baby Step 17 - Naturally Female

Challenge: Consider the products used for your menstrual cycle, and if you're willing, make a switch to a more natural option.

Why: First, there is the waste issue.
-Next to disposable diapers, disposable pads are one of the next items filling up our landfills at the greatest speed
-In 5 years (and most women say they use them much longer than that), a single cloth pad replaces an estimated 120 disposable pads or tampons

Next, is the health issue.
-Disposable pads reduce air circulation creating a stagnant environment where bacteria thrive
-The plastic sheeting can cause rashes, irritations, and a susceptibility to yeast infections
-They contain bleaching residues which many women have allergic reactions to
-Low levels of dioxin (a known carcinogen linked to cervical cancer and more) have been found in almost every major tampon brand

Lastly, is the cost issue.
-While reusable options may cost more upfront, the savings are hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years

How: After reading through the information in the book, I was very much against cloth pads based on the gross-out factor alone.  I felt like I at least needed more information.  I Googled and researched the heck out of cloth pads.  I perused the websites of many different companies and brands, and read countless reviews from real women.  The more I read, the more convinced I became that cloth pads really were the best option for me.

After looking at the products on sites such as Luna Pads, Glad Rags, and even Etsy, I chose the Glad Rags products as best for me.

My biggest concern was that my period is so light (not usually a concern), and I did not want to have a thick, uncomfortable pad when I didn't even need it.  I was so pleased to see that Glad Rags actually had pads specifically for "light flow."  The customization you get when you buy these products is incredible.  Every woman is different and there are different stages of life to consider.  We shouldn't all have to make do with the same products.  I wanted a full cycle's worth, so I shelled out the dough and purchased the Light Flow Kit (pictured below) containing:
-3 day pads (which include removable inserts)
-3 pantyliners
-1 carry bag for on the go
-1 small wet bag for storing pads at home

I am definitely on the bandwagon.  I loved them.  They are so comfortable.  They are cloth, so they just feel like your underwear would anyways, and you feel completely dry.  When reading the reviews before, I thought the women saying, "How did I live without these?" were over the top, but now I understand and even agree.  And if a concern of yours is the cleaning and care, it's easy!  Saving money, being healthier, feeling more comfortable, saving the planet.  Who knew you could do all that with your period?

Check them out!
GladRags - Safe. Simple. Smart. Period.

Other options:

I personally cannot use tampons or the likes of them, but there are more natural, healthier, environmentally friendly options for those too.  These are menstrual cups and sponges.  There are many brands and styles to choose from.  Glad Rags sell some of these as well here.

If you're not feeling too into the reusable options (even though I don't think you should knock it 'til you've tried it) another option would be to seek out an alternative brand of disposable pads that are more natural and chemical-free.  I have seen these in natural food stores or the natural aisle of mainstream grocery stores.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Healthy Homemaking Series: Yogurt

Baby Step 16 - Making Homemade Yogurt

Challenge: Make a batch of homemade yogurt.

Why: Yogurt is packed with pro-biotic goodness, containing millions of beneficial bacteria that promote a good digestive system and keep you healthy.  Organic yogurt with nothing added can get pricey, and thus making it at home is a frugal choice.

How: I have been so looking forward to this challenge!  Here is how to make yogurt at home.

1 L of milk
1 tbsp plain yogurt (must be plain - no sweeteners, thickeners, or anything)

1. Pour the milk into a large pot over medium heat.  Bring to a boil (slowly).
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool until it is lukewarm.
3. Put yogurt starter into a jar and add a bit of the warm milk.  Mix until it is dissolved then pour back into the pot and mix well.
4. Ladle out milk mixture into as many jars as necessary.
5. Turn on oven light.  Put the jars full of milk inside the stove covered with a dishcloth.  Leave them in the oven for 6-8 hours. (If you do this in the evening, you can leave them overnight.)
6. Put yogurt into the fridge to cool off, and then its ready to be eaten.
Recipe and procedure from Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie Langford.


I don't know what happed, but something is not right about this yogurt.  The one jar is snot consistency (I apologize for that imagery) and the other is as thin as milk.  They also taste awful.  If anyone has any insight as to what I did wrong, I would love to hear it.

Have you made homemade yogurt?

Monday, September 5, 2011


Brad, two of our best friends, and I recently watched the documentary Tapped.  I had heard about it on another blog, and was immediately interested after watching the likes of Food Inc and Food MattersTapped came out in 2010 and has won 5 film festival awards, 3 of which were for best documentary.

This film is eye opening and informative.  I have always had an anti-bottled water stance mostly because of the added cost and the extra waste from plastic water bottles.  After seeing this film, there are so many more reasons as well.

Tapped goes through all the issues of how bottled water relates to our health, global climate change, pollution, the world water crisis, and our reliance on oil.  An analogy that stuck with me was when one woman compared our modern Western society to toddlers.  We throw temper tantrums if everything isn't easy and immediately available, and we don't want to take care of anything, instead throwing it away when we are done.  Is that how we want to behave?  I know I don't.  I honestly wish I had taken notes during the movie because there is so much important information.

The two biggest lessons I learned in this movie were:
-do not believe everything you read/see in advertisements or even on product labels
-when you buy something you are voting for it, choose wisely

The easiest ways to avoid bottled water are to carry a reusable water bottle with you and fill it with tap water.  If you don't like tap water, buy a filter for your home to run the tap water through.  Something as simple and inexpensive as a Brita pitcher will do the trick.

I urge you all to view this informative and still attention capturing film.  At the very least, please take some time to check out the Tapped website.  Here is the trailer for the film.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Juicy Bamboo

I recently won a sample of Kaia Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths from Nature's Fare Markets.  They are one step cloths that remove make up (safe for eyes too), cleanse, and tone, and there is no water required.  They are made from sustainable crops (bamboo) and 100% biodegradable.  Plus they are designed in Canada and made in the US - a North American collaboration.

 I received 5 sample cloths.
What's In It:
-8 pure plant-based essential oils
-certified organic Canadian honey
-sunflower oil
-oat amino acids

What's Not:
-no alcohol
-no synthetic fragrance
-no parabens
-no sulfates

 Trying one out.

I really enjoyed using these cloths.  They are so soft on your skin with no burning or discomfort.  There is no stickiness or anything after using, you really feel clean.  I don't wear make up, but from what I've read online these remove the toughest make up including waterproof mascara.  I found that my skin really stayed clear.  When I did see a break out beginning, it faded away.

The only downside I see to these cloths is that they are one time use.  Even though they are biodegradable and come from a sustainable crop source, I have a really hard time using something once and then throwing it away.  I don't think I could get past that to use these everyday.  Also, you have to constantly buy more as you run out, and they are more expensive than just soap.

Even though I really enjoyed using these cloths and they are so effective, the one time use issue makes them not the choice for me.  I think that their ideal use would be for camping (especially because there is no water required) and traveling or perhaps keeping in your car for after the gym, etc.  Great product, just not for me.